These days, families come in all forms — single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors ... It's 2012 and anything goes. Bryan (Andrew Rannells, "Girls") and David (Justin Bartha, "The Hangover") are a Los Angeles couple, and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed, loving partnership, there is one thing that this couple is missing: a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie (Georgia King, "One Day"), an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A Midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother (Emmy and Tony winner Ellen Barkin), Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious 8-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke — but also fertile — Goldie quickly becomes the guys' surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family.
WHY WE LIKE IT
At the risk of borrowing another show's title, the "New Normal" gang feels like a real "modern family," with very different strangers not related by blood coming together to form a weirdly appropriate family unit. "Normal" manages to be sweet without ever getting saccharine, Rannells is a breakout star in the making, and Barkin's bigoted grandma steals every scene she's in. Once we saw Barkin locked in a screaming match with NeNe Leakes, we were sold.
FALL TV MATH
(Mitch and Cam from "Modern Family" – Lily) + "Gilmore Girls" + Archie Bunker in a dress = "The New Normal"
DID YOU KNOW?
Murphy first fell in love with Leakes after seeing her wreak havoc on reality TV: "We were in the writers' room of 'Glee,' and writing a nemesis for Jane Lynch, and I said, 'You know what we need? We need somebody like this'… I had seen NeNe on 'Housewives,' and I had also seen her take down Star Jones on 'Celebrity Apprentice.' So I said, 'Wow. I don't even know if NeNe wants to act, but we should talk to her and offer her this part.'" And now Murphy is returning the favor by appearing on the upcoming season of NeNe's "Real Housewives of Atlanta." Starring: Andrew Rannells, Justin Bartha, Georgia King, Ellen Barkin